Jim Edmonds flied out to right and Juan Encarnacion struck out swinging, stranding the runners on first and second to end the inning without incident. The move endorsed the theory that it's never a good idea to let the other team's best hitter beat you. But it was only the second time Pujols had been intentionally walked in the series and the sixth time in his 47 postseason games. Bonds was walked intentionally seven times in the seven-game 2002 World Series.
"He's the best hitter in the game, man. When you get the opportunity to do that, it's a little bit smart to do it if you can. It's not out of character. It's being conscious of him and obviously everyone is."
-- Randolph, on passing on pitching to Pujols
Randolph sticks with Maine
John Maine had thrown 86 pitches through five innings and hadn't allowed a hit since Pujols singled with one out in the first. His spot in the order opened the bottom of the fifth.
Randolph sent Maine up to hit. And after he struck out, Maine
was sent back out to pitch the top of the sixth.
Maine walked Edmonds and after Encarnacion flied out to left, Randolph replaced him with side-arming Chad Bradford to face Scott Rolen, who grounded into a double play to end the inning after taking the first three pitches as balls. Maine, making only his third postseason start and 27th overall in his career, threw 98 pitches and allowed no runs on two hits, four walks (Pujols intentionally) and five strikeouts, including Pujols to end the fifth. Maine also hit a batter.
"I've got a good bullpen, that's for sure. John pitched a great ballgame. He didn't lose his cool. So he did a great job for us, did what he wanted to do and just kept us in the ballgame and gave us a chance to go to our bullpen [when we did]."
-- Randolph, on his decision to remove Maine at that point in the game
La Russa lifts Carpenter
The situation: Staff ace Chris Carpenter had only thrown 76 pitches through six innings when his spot in the batting order came up in the top of the seventh with one out, a runner on first and the Mets leading, 2-0.
La Russa pinch-hit the lefty-swinging Chris Duncan for Carpenter. Randolph counters by replacing a right-hander (Bradford) with another right-hander (Guillermo Mota). A quizzical move to say the least.
Duncan smacked into a double play to end the Cards' half of
the seventh. Carpenter was replaced in the bottom of the inning by Braden Looper. The former Met, who
was jeered mercilessly by the crowd of 56,334, allowed three hits and a pair of runs on Paul Lo Duca's single up the middle. The move became even
more huge when the Cardinals score two runs off of Billy Wagner in the ninth.
"[Pitching coach] Dave [Duncan] and I had talked about it. If there had been two outs and nobody on [Carpenter] would've stayed in the game. But you're down two and you've got, what, eight outs left? I think you had to take a shot there. Chris had an outstanding sixth inning. I was pulling for a rally. Those chances run out. And I'm telling you, if we had been down two instead of four, you'd have seen a different Billy Wagner, too."
-- La Russa